Please join us in welcoming Dr. Jon Klancher of Carnegie Mellon University for his talk, "Origins of the Concept of 'Scale': Reading the Print Technologies 1680-1820," on March 9th, 4:30-6pm, in ECON 13. Dr. Klancher will be introduced by Professor Thora Brylowe.

Dr. Klancher's talk should be of particular interest to anyone working in the broad fields of print culture, book history, and media studies.


Dr. Jon Klancher is Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. His research has focused on the British Romantic and Victorian periods, print history, and the sociology of culture.  He has recently published a book on the emergence of new fields of knowledge in the early nineteenth century, Transfiguring the Arts and Sciences: Knowledge and Cultural Institutions in the Romantic Age (Cambridge University Press, Fall 2013).  At present he is working on the historical relationship of so-called "new" and "old" media in a project on book history, the long nineteenth century, and the current debates around new media and digital humanities. He is also author of The Making of English Reading Audiences, 1790-1832, and related essays on Romantic-age cultural and media history, and in recent years he has edited A Concise Companion to the Romantic Age for Blackwell and contributed to a wide range of article collections and reference books.

Abstract: "The concept of 'scale' has become a newly important and complex idea in several disciplines across the humanities--from the debate on the Anthropocene, to questions of globalization and cultural geography, to the controversy about digital humanities and literary studies.  In this talk, I look behind such fields to ask: where we did we get the modern language of scale in the first place? Using long-eighteenth-century scientific and artisanal or mechanical-arts print genres as a basis, I ask how measures of labor skill in the early modern period might translate into intellectual skills and methods in the Romantic age and nineteenth century. The focal point here will be the epicconfrontation between Romanticism and the Utilitarian visions of knowledge pursued by Jeremy Bentham. By showing how scale works there, I aim to ask new questions about the humanities’ long-term resistance to scale-thinking and why this history may inform the new fascination with questions of scale now."